The 5 Key Personality Traits of Every Successful Woman
All successful leaders inspire, motivate, mentor and direct others toward a higher goal. But let’s be honest, if you’re a woman leader in our male-dominated business world, you’ll have to do more than that. A growing number of women are reaching the top echelons of business and politics. But progress is slow, and the gender gap in leadership remains stubbornly large. A key reason, experts say, is unconscious bias that causes people to react differently to male and female leaders — for instance, among both men and women, male ambition is generally lauded, while female ambition often provokes hostility. Meanwhile, women leaders are expected to be more compassionate, ethical and better at forging compromises than men.
The good news is women do have some important strengths that come with being society’s nurturers. While research shows men more often are top-down, “command-and-control” leaders, women tend to have a more democratic, participative leadership style that experts consider more effective, particularly as collaboration and innovation become more important to competitiveness.
So what are the most important leadership traits women need to be successful in a male-dominated business world? We asked a group of more than 30 women entrepreneurs from around the world. Here’s what they told us:
Many of the women entrepreneurs we polled named confidence as the single most important trait needed for success, which is unsurprising since it is also a singular struggle for many women in business.
We all have examples of confident women in our lives, whether it be a family member, a friend or someone we have not actually met, but admire from afar. We are instantly drawn to this person by their self-assurance and positive outlook on themselves.
They seem resilient against adversity in their lives and turn each stumbling block into a stepping stone to self-fulfillment and happiness.
2. The Ability To Create Women-Empowered Workplaces
Female leaders possess the same traits as their male counterparts: vision, perseverance, empathy, passion, etc. But one thing that next-generation female leaders need to have is to truly be at the forefront of creating women-empowered workplaces.
While some policies have changed over time to create gender-equal workplaces, most have not been revamped to keep up with the times. We still see very few women taking leadership positions. Now is the time for female leaders to play a crucial role in redefining the future by building a work culture that embraces women, encourages them and grooms them to become future leaders.
When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters; one represents danger and the other represents opportunity. Your ability to handle stress requires you to be able to remain calm and composed whilst amidst chaos, as well as keeping an eye out for opportunity; a way out or a potential solution.
Stress is more likely for women according to IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, as “they are more likely to have two jobs; the one in the office and the one at home”. Being able to keep calm during stressful situations not only means you can set an example for others, but allows you to see opportunities within the eye of the storm and take advantage accordingly.
4. Knowing How To Ignore Bad Advice
Being able to ignore bad advice (especially without offending the adviser) constantly makes the difference for me. The only way I keep moving forward is to stick to my plan, based on knowing my company, my industry, and my buyers, and to ignore advice from people without that kind of knowledge.
Frankly, I'm only willing to listen to advice from people who have some experience with whatever I'm working on. I'll smile and nod, whether a software developer wants to tell me that I really ought to use reStructuredText to manage all of the content I write or a man wants to tell a room full of women how to be a woman in tech. These would-be advisers aren't ill-intentioned, but are guided by unconscious bias: My gender, age, and background have all triggered well-meaning advice. Just ignore them.
Assertiveness is often quoted as the number one key characteristic of effective leaders. It requires you to be an excellent communicator, in order for what you say to be voiced as accurately as possible.
Assertiveness is often mistaken for aggressiveness, often translated into a ‘bitchy’ label. But put simply, being assertive is the perfect medium between two extremes – being aggressive and being passive. “Being an ambitious woman certainly doesn’t mean you’re a bitch” says sporting executive Karen Brady. “We have to change that thinking”. Being assertive is based on finding a balance – clearly asserting your ideas, beliefs, and wants whilst also respecting a possible rebuttal opinion.